How to Catch a Duck Without Hurting It (TRAPS)

How to catch a duck

Whether you’re looking for general knowledge on catching ducks or beginner-friendly ways of catching a duck, we’ve got all the answers for you. If you’re wondering how to catch a duck, then stay tuned as we discuss how to catch a duck, what to be careful of, and other tips to help you succeed. Let’s dive in!

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How to Catch a Duck

duck perched by water
There are many different methods in order to catch a duck but the main thing to remember is to be gentle.
There are a few reasons why you might want to catch a duck, such as to relocate the ducks or collect data on the species. You might have a small farm or homestead and need to catch your duck for veterinary care (or just because you want to). Ducklings cannot fly until they have all of their feathers (after about 8 weeks), so they’re generally pretty easy to catch. Ducks that don’t have their wings clipped, or wild ducks, will pose a bit of a challenge. When it comes to how to pick up a duck, you’ll want to make use of food and other potential attractants, such as decoys, to lure the ducks in close enough to catch them. Once the ducks have been trapped, they can either be banded or moved to a different location. Read More: Why Do Ducks Quack? Learn why ducks quack and how to prevent them from keeping you up at night!

Using Food to Lure Ducks

1. Put a Bowl of Dog Food Outside to Lure the Duck

Place a small bowl outside, filled with either canned or dry dog food, close to the area where the duck most often hangs around. If the duck is hurt, the best thing to do is give it some wet dog food. This will ensure that the duck drinks some water and prevent it from dehydrating. To prevent the duck from becoming dehydrated, you can also offer it a dish of water to drink.

2. Hide Somewhere With a Net

Find a position to hide where you won’t be seen by the duck but you’ll still be able to view the food bowl. Hiding there with a net that is large enough to capture the duck is your best bet. You won’t need to get too near to the duck if you have a net that has a handle because that will provide you the leverage you need to pick it up.

3. Sneak Up On the Duck

While the duck is busy eating the dog food, slowly approach it from behind. You need to get close to the duck before it finishes eating, but you don’t want the duck to hear you approaching, so make sure to maintain a low profile.

4. Scoop Up the Duck With the Net

Quickly pull the net down over the duck as soon as you get close enough for the net to reach it. Carefully lift the duck off the ground and constrain it by gently holding its neck while it’s still in the net.

5. Remove the Duck From the Net

Carefully remove the duck from the net, holding it by the base of its neck with one hand, and pinning its wings to its side with your other hand and forearm. Tuck the duck’s body under your arm, with its wings still close to its side. Your free hand should hold the base of the neck and chest. Read More: How Much Does a Duck Weigh? Ducks can weigh as little as 1.5 pounds and as heavy as 9 pounds! 

Catching Ducks at Night

1. Wait Until it’s Dark Out

Because ducks have poor night vision, the best time to go duck hunting is after dark. This will increase your chances of success. Hold off on approaching the ducks until the middle of the night, when it will be the darkest and they will be resting. Ducks can still see well while there is some light, including at dusk.

2. Sneak Up On the Duck

While the duck is resting, slowly and quietly approach it. Be as slow as possible in your movements so that you don’t startle the duck.

3. Put Down a Carrier

Place a medium-sized pet carrier on the ground directly near where the duck is resting. You should have the door open and be prepared to scoop the duck into the carrier when you get the chance. Before approaching the duck, release the carrier’s clasp so that the animal isn’t startled by the noise made by the locking mechanism.

4. Scoop the Duck into the Carrier With a Blanket

Once you’re close enough to the duck, throw a thin blanket or towel over it, quickly wrap it up, and place it into the carrier. Close the carrier door and lock it.

5. Release the Duck in a New Location

If you’re relocating the duck, place the carrier gently down on the ground and open the door away from you. You should stand behind the carrier to avoid scaring the duck. If the duck won’t leave the carrier, you may need to step a few feet away from the carrier so the duck is comfortable enough to exit. Read More: How Long Do Ducks Sit On Eggs? Learn about the brooding habits of hen ducks in this guide!

Using a Duck Trap

duck on water
Duck traps are a convenient way to catch ducks without having to do much interacting with them.
Using a duck trap is a more simple way to catch ducks as they are specifically made for this. So if you have some sort of duck trap then you can use it and follow these steps to catch a duck.

1. Build a Funnel Trap or Buy a Trap

Fasten metal or wooden poles every 3 to 4 feet along the length of a mesh net, giving the whole thing a height of 5 feet. You’ll need a stretch of the net that’s 6 ft. wide and 30 ft. long. The ducks can easily enter the trap through the narrow aperture, but they will have a difficult time escaping. To prevent the ducks from escaping, you need to drape some netting over the top of the trap. Alternatively, you can just buy a trap.

2. Place the Trap

Spend a few days watching the ducks you want to trap to get a feel for the best spot to set up your trap. Set your traps on dry land or in shallow water. Read More: How to Train Ducks to Follow You… and other fun training tips to develop a closer bond with your pet or free-range ducks!

3. Attract the Duck to Your Trap

Your trap will work if the duck feels safe approaching it. Bait a trap inside and out. Keep most of the bait inside the trap to attract ducks. Try to prevent spooking the ducks by staying hidden and out of view. It may take a while for the ducks to entrap themselves, so you can leave the trap overnight.

4. Remove the Ducks From the Trap

When you get the duck to its new home, set the trap on the ground, open it, and walk away until the duck leaves. Here’s a great video showing how to use a homemade trap to catch baby ducks: 

Read More: Homemade Duck Egg Incubator. Hatching ducklings can be a fun learning experience for the whole family! Here’s how to make your own incubator at home.

Handy Tips

Here are a few tips to keep in mind when you catch a duck:
  • Don’t grab a duck by its wings, and make sure the wings are always pinned to its side. Otherwise, their wings could get hurt.
  • Avoid grabbing their legs as ducks are prone to hip displacement.
  • Using bait to lure ducks is way easier than chasing the ducks around until you get a chance to catch them.
  • Be sure that if you’re using a net or trap to catch the duck you’re gentle with it.
  • Don’t get discouraged if you don’t catch the duck on the first day as you might need to do it a few times before you’re successful.
Keeping these tips in mind can make sure that you’re successful at catching a duck and that you don’t hurt the duck in the process. Read More: Do Ducks Have 2 Legs? Are wings considered legs? Here’s what to know about a duck’s legs!


When it comes to catching a duck you want to make sure that you’re being as gentle as possible. Unless you have ducks that are domesticated, it’s also best not to capture wild ducks unless absolutely necessary. 

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